NUS celebrates progressive Green manifesto

NUS celebrates progressive Green manifesto

NUS welcomes and celebrates the Green Party’s 2024 manifesto which is aspirational and progressive, contains measures which would tackle the many crises the country faces, and would make a meaningful difference to student lives. 

  • Their pledge to restore grants and abolish undergraduate tuition fees and implement a long-term plan to cancel graduate debt shows they have listened to students. The current higher education system is irrevocably broken and only the root-and-branch reform the Greens offer would fix it.   
  • A trained and paid counsellor in every school and college is another pledge we welcome, which combined with their wider pledges on improving mental health provision, would help to tackle the student mental health crisis.  
  • The pledge to provide free bus travel for under-18s is welcome, with NUS survey data showing the cost of travel a huge burden for students.   
  • NUS has long condemned the way migrants, including international students, have been subject to much prejudice in recent years. The Green pledge end the hostile environment and abolish the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition that exacerbates social, economic, and racial inequalities, is another measure we are pleased to see in their manifesto.  
  • We are pleased to see the Greens pledge to give the right to self-identification to trans and non-binary people, who have been subject to much prejudice.  
  • Giving votes to 16-year-olds and bringing in residence-based voting rights is long overdue. We also welcome the pledge to scrap voter ID, which disproportionately disenfranchises young people, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, racialised communities and LGBT+ people.  
  • Promising rent controls in housing markets which are unaffordable to young people, a new stable rental tenancy, and an end to no-fault evictions, shows the Greens take the student housing crisis seriously and would tackle it.  
  • Other pledges we welcome include: the £40 billion a year move to a green economy; a fully funded health and social care system and increased spending on mental health services; and delivering equal rights for all workers currently excluded from protections, including ‘gig economy’ workers and those on ‘zero hours’ contracts.  

 

There are a few omissions, however. We note:  

  • They say little on offering students and apprentices a voice within their education institutions.  
  • There’s little detail on the party’s plans for colleges and further education, with nothing on further education qualification reform, saving BTECs or college funding.  
  • It’s unclear whether apprentices would be included in the promised £15 living wage  
  • While the party’s pledges on housing would make great strides in tackling the student housing crisis, we note there is nothing about scrapping the need for a guarantor.    

    

NUS UK Vice President for Liberation and Equality, Nehaal Bajwa, said:    

“The Green Party are offering a splash of hope for young people with this manifesto.  Students and students' unions up and down the UK have been lobbying hard to secure a future for us all - and we're pleased to see the Greens have listened to some of our core asks. Students are the future, they are the next generation of doctors, nurses, teachers and public sector workers; they are the engineers, researchers and political leaders who will solve the crises which threaten our society and our world. Students and young people are looking to their political leaders for hope, a picture of a better future, and a reason to vote for them.  

“However, the majority of students in the UK are those in colleges. While we're pleased to see a commitment to Votes at 16 now, we need to see proper detail on qualification reform and the future of our further education sector.  

This manifesto offers a clear vision for students and young people, who are now a priority target for the Greens. The Labour party has historically taken these votes for granted but, with students holding the balance of power in over 60 constituencies, they need to urgently consider their offer.” 

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